Clubs Council Chair, Lewis Pope, yesterday announced his intention to resign from his position. In a statement posted on the Clubs and Societies Facebook page, Pope said that both he and Clubs Council Communications Officer Joel Baker will be stepping down. The resignations come amidst continued delays in achieving payment from ANUSA for Clubs Council executives.
Pope told Observer that his “decisive” motivation for resigning now was a significant opportunity that had become available to him in paid work. However, he noted that while “not being paid is not the reason I’m leaving, it might have been a reason to stay” and raised the challenges of “a half week” workload for no recompense. Regardless of this, Pope emphasised how “meaningful” his work as Chair had been for him.
Executive payment for the Clubs Chair and Funding Officer has been an unresolved issue since September last year, when the clubs council approved the then executive to bring the issue to SRC. At an OGM in 2018, Clubs Secretary Howard Maclean spoke of the necessity of some form of stipend given the work of the Clubs Council Executive was that of “volunteer bureaucrats”.
Clubs Council payment was to be put into a governance review commissioned by ANUSA through a motion put forward at this year’s ANUSA AGM in May. However, the AGM lost quorum prior to the motion being put, and thus the issue was not explicitly included in the review.
Pope said that he is “hopeful” that exec payment will be delivered, and that he is “trying to have faith in the slow turning of the wheel” of the ANUSA process. At the same time, he expressed some frustration, saying that while the preliminary work of the review “is necessary, it’s not going past that at the moment”.
Pope and Baker were elected in last September’s Clubs Council elections. These were the first elections for the Chair of the Clubs Council, a body which was created in 2017 to replace the Grants and Affiliations Committee. Under the regulations that govern the Clubs Council, the casual vacancy created by Pope’s resignation “may be filled by appointment” by the Clubs Council executive. In the meantime, Pope told Observer that Maclean is the only member of the executive empowered to take on the powers of the Chair.
The Clubs Council has faced what Pope described as “growing pains” this year. As chair, Pope oversaw the rollout of the MSL payment system earlier this year. However, due to failures with the new MSL platform, grants have not been delivered to clubs, leaving some seriously out of pocket. Even after MSL issues were resolved, funding did not get administered due to what Pope characterised as “miscommunication” between ANUSA and Clubs Council. The Clubs Council is only in the second year of its operation, the body replaced the old Grants and Affiliations Committee at the beginning of last year.
ANUSA President Eleanor Kay commented yesterday congratulating “Lewis on the new opportunities he has at work and wish him all the best”. She added that she had “enjoyed working with Lewis” and looked forward to “working with the next Chair”, promising to work “with the Clubs Council Executive to ensure we manage the transition effectively”.
Baker declined to comment on the reasons for his resignation.
Joel Baker and Eliza Croft were not involved in the writing, editing, or publication of this article. Joel Baker was contacted for comment as a source.
Correction: This Article previously stated the 2017 Elections were the Club Council’s first, the first Elections were in fact in 2016; 2017 was the first year elections have been held for the current form of the Clubs Council, with an elected chair.
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